Obesity rates continue to climb, and that’s not good for cancer prevention

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Both here in the US and around the world, obesity rates continue to climb. Today, for the first time, more people are classified as obese than underweight, finds a major new study published in The Lancet.

The findings have severe implications for cancer rates. Aside from not smoking, staying a healthy weight is the single largest risk factor related to cancer risk. AICR research links excess body fat to ten cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and esophageal.

Here in the US, if everyone were a healthy weight, AICR estimates that approximately 128,000 cases of cancer could be prevented each year.

obesity-and-cancer-1Among the study’s findings:
-Almost a fifth of the world’s obese adults live in six high-income countries: the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

-Among high-income English-speaking countries, the USA has the highest BMI for both men and women. More than one in four severely obese men and almost one in five severely obese women in the world live in the USA.

The analysis is based on data from 19 million adults from 186 countries, covering 99 percent of the world’s population.

The study was funded by Wellcome Trust, Grand Challenges Canada.

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Author: Mya Nelson

Mya R. Nelson is at American Institute for Cancer Research, where she writes about the research in the field.

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